Feeling the urge to stretch their legs, FootZone of Bend has hopped across the street in downtown to its expansion store featuring a mesmerizing mega wall of vibrant athletic shoes and outdoor sandal footwear for feet of every size, shape and purpose.
The original FootZone location at 845 NW Wall Street opened in 1995, serving all of Central Oregon with a colorful, cutting-edge, four-season selection of running shoes and sportswear.
Owner and certified head shoe geek Teague Hatfield felt the move to a larger facility was necessary and allows them to increase their menu of high-end footwear to better serve their growing clientele.
“We moved FootZone, the running, walking and fitness side of our business across the street on June 4,” he explained. “The first store is now an outdoor-inspired lifestyle outlet called OutsideIn Bend. It gives us the opportunity to facilitate growth during the next phase of our business and provides a lot more space to expand our inventory and display it better.”
Between men’s and women’s styles, combining both stores, Hatfield believes they carry over 400 pairs of shoes for competitive track athletes, trail running, hiking, cross-training, fitness walking and almost any sport or outdoor activity you can think of.
“Besides basic high-end fitness shoes, we also sell spikes for trail running, track and field shoes and cross-country gear. The FootZone shop will carry the full lineup of premium athletic footwear by Asics, Brooks, New Balance and Nike.”
Headliners at OutsideIn are selections by Keen, Merrell, Dansko, OluKai and on the clothing side, it’s Prana, Arc’Teryx and Ibex.
“We’re spoiled because we get to sell all the cool trail shoes due to so many great trails and trail runners here in Central Oregon,” said Hatfield. “So we’ve become a bit of a trail mecca, not just because of the convenient High Desert location but because we carry so many of those popular brands.”
Customer response to the shiny new superstore has been fabulous according to Hatfield and his expert crew.
“We haven’t skipped a beat in the running store and business at OutsideIn has been solid and stronger than expected. It’s picking up now that we’re getting into colder weather. It was important our customers felt comfortable with our expansion and didn’t interpret it as a complete move, which it isn’t.”
The jump over the asphalt has added some serious real estate.
“All told, we more than doubled,” he said. “The new space is a third bigger than the original and the timing was right. I never anticipated opening another store but for years I’d kept my eyes open to expand the business. It was fortuitous that the opportunity arose right across the street and I could visualize what it would look like. I didn’t think the two could exist independently of each other if not so close. I would have been much more nervous.”
Hatfield and his entire FootZone staff thrive on being a vital hub for the vast Central Oregon running community and all its many outlets and needs. Inside their stores, runners can register for most local runs and pick up info packets for various events. Keeping the competitive spirit flowing, they sponsor nearly all of the local running events and festivals, including Bigfoot, Heaven Can Wait, Salmon Run, PPP, Haulin Aspen, Spark Your Heart, Jingle Bell Run, Deschutes Dash, Grin and Bear it, Lord’s Acre, Lava Bear Classic, Prineville HotShot Run and other fun, challenging races.
“The only reason we exist is because in footwear, fit is the most important thing. People need to try shoes on and we have a staff that knows how a shoe properly fits. We’ve worn out Brannock devices in the store where the numbers are no longer legible because we’ve had so many feet sized on them. We take the shoe fitting side of the enterprise very seriously and even have a medical referral segment of our business as well.”
Giving back to the greater good is foremost on Hatfield’s mind and forms the intimate bond between his stores and their customers.
“Every year we put on the Horse Butte 10 miler, Dirty Half and Dirty Dozen as benefits for the Oregon Natural Desert Association, Deschutes Land Trust and Central Oregon Trail Alliance respectively. We don’t profit off these events but use them to help promote and financially support the preservation of open space and building of trails. We’ve always supported the Central Oregon Running Klub and through local high school coaches, make sure student runners have the chance to be out there in good shoes.”
Hatfield is grateful and proud to be a healthy, thriving business in Bend and appreciates all the intense customer loyalty that allowed this recent growth spurt.
“We live in this amazing community and try to be a positive aspect of it,” added Hatfield. “Hopefully these products and professional services benefit our customers and in turn our customers provide us with consistent employment. It’s simple and accountable.”
FootZone, 842 NW Wall St., Bend, www.footzonebend.com, 541-317-3568.